One of Brock’s most unique faculty’s has to be the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). This professional program at Brock University allows students the opportunity for hands-on experience in Canada’s grape and wine industry. The program contains a co-op option, allowing the students to immediately apply their knowledge in the workplace. The small class sizes allows for a lot more one-on-one opportunities for the students as well as a lot of interaction with their instructors and peers.
The program itself has made a few improvements over the years. In 2005, the students in the CCOVI program launched the Society of Good Cheer to expand their development in wine tasting. The program has allowed alumni and OEVI students the chance to participate in structured wine tastings on a monthly basis.
Not only have they managed to develop their abilities through these tastings within the Brock community, but they have also expanded into the Niagara region. The Niagara Wine Festival has included Brock’s CCOVI program in their festivities. The Educate Your Senses seminars, an educational event on food and wine, has been brought back this year by popular demand. On September 21 and 28, the CCOVI program has coordinated this program which is being hosted by food and wine author Linda Bramble.
The event serves as both a festivity and an educational experience. It gives the students at Brock a chance to showcase their talents, and learn throughout the process, while also providing them and the guests of the event with a wine tasting. Bramble, who happens to be a CCOVI Professional Affiliate, will display some of the Niagara region’s top winemakers, which includes Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture program’s alumni. The alumni will also get a chance to share their experiences with all the participants at the event, providing more information and knowledge for the Brock CCOVI students and other guests.
Over the years, the event has modified itself. This year, there is a new competition part of the event called the East versus West: A Winemakers Showdown. This event will put winemakers to competition on Sunday September 22 and 29. The “showdown” will feature both a wine and culinary experience. There will be four courses, and for each one, alumni winemakers from Brock University and Niagara College will be split into teams based on whether their winery is in East or West Niagara. They will be competing for the best wine pairings for each of the four courses they will participate in. The food for this event will be provided by the Canadian Food and Wine Institute and the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
The Educate Your Senses wine seminars can be registered for online. They will be held on Saturday, September 21 and Saturday September 28 with three events each day, starting at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m, and 5:00 p.m., The Winemakers Showdown will be on Sunday September 22nd, and Sunday September 29 both starting at 2:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.niagarawinefestival.com.